“Waving Flag” Documentary Hopes to Alter Stereotypes

April 6, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Meredith Crawford
mcrawford@smu.edu

The Film's Director, Victor Adetiba, during a Q&A (PHOTO BY MEREDITH CRAWFORD / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The African Student Association hosted a pre-screening of a portion of the documentary “Waving Flag” on Thursday evening in the Hughes-Trigg Theatre.

The portion of the film presented was a series of interviews with both Nigerian immigrants and Nigerians who have lived their whole life in the United States.

“The initiative of this event was not only to reach out to SMU, but to DFW as well,” Audrey Addo, president of the ASA, said.

The interviews provided an insight into their experiences with stereotyping and misconceptions about living in the United States. The audience was very vocal during the film, laughing along with the funny stories and audibly expressing concern when the interviewees described the effects of stereotyping. According to the film, the stereotypes placed on them come not only from people, but also from the media.

The film’s director, Victor Adetiba, also known as Adetiba ‘Super-Director’, said that making this film was important because people always complain about what the media says about them, but no one ever does anything about it.

Adetiba said that some of the people in the film are family members or people he attends church with. Overall, he chose people whom he’s touched and that have an interesting story. He tried to draw from a wide variety of experiences.

Some of those interviewed in the film described their surprise when they arrived to the United States and how no one had told them how much hard work was required to succeed in the U.S.

“When I first came here everything was not what I expected,” David Solomon, the film’s producer, said. Solomon immigrated to the U.S. in 2003.

A question and answer panel and open-forum discussion with the audience followed the documentary. A variety of topics were discussed, from the problems in Nigeria to the strained relationship between Africans and African-Americans in the United States.

Adetiba hopes that this film will  inspire people to visit Nigeria and experience the country for themselves.

VIDEO: African Student Association Presents Extravaganza 2011

February 25, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Video, editing and story by Fernando Valdes
jvaldes@smu.edu

VIDEO: A Night of Extravaganza from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

The SMU African Student Association (ASA) hosted “EXTRAVAGANZA 2011: A Piece of Black History Month” Thursday night. The night featured a variety of songs, dances and cultures from all over Africa.

“This is our first big event on SMU’s campus. We are an organization that just started and we are just really excited to do something that SMU can see,” said Erica Onwuegbuchu, a performer in EXTRAVAGANZA and a member of ASA.

More than 400 students and guests gathered at the Mack Ballroom in Umphrey Lee to be part of the first annual EXTRAVAGANZA.

Samira Abderahman and Brian Quarles, both memebers of African Student Association, host EXTRAVAGANZA 2011 at the Umphrey Lee Mack Ballroom, Thursday, February 2011. (PHOTO BY FERNANDO VALDES/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The night opened with a skit about the birth of humankind. Following the play, Audrey Addo and Aden Abiye, the founders of ASA gave a brief history of their new organization, founded in September 2010, and what they aim to achieve at SMU.

“The whole purpose and the inspiration behind this organization is to really bring groups of African Americans, Africans and others with African descent to have a community, to feel welcome and educate people about the African heritage through education programs and entertainment,” Addo said.

Following the founders’ presentation, the night’s feature speaker, Derrick Payne, a professor at El Centro College in Dallas, lectured the audience on the legacy of Africa. Payne pointed out how important it is to always remember and be proud of African roots.

“We discuss Africans and Africa as if it was not us… We are African people, there is Africa in your genes, in your DNA, whether you like it or not, ” Payne said.

Payne finished by telling students that they should always be willing to use the experience and knowledge they acquire at SMU to help Africa prosper.

Memebers of the SMU African Student Association perform a native Ethiopian dance for the cheering audiences at EXTRAVAGANZA 2011 held, Thursday, February, 2011. (PHOTO BY FERNANDO VALDES / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The night continued with multicultural dances performed by various ASA members and volunteers.

There were also poetry readings, a preview of an upcoming movie dealing with the Nigerian culture, and a West African Dance and Drum ensemble that inspired the crowd to clap and sing.

A fashion show, showcasing the wide array of cultures found throughout Africa, ended the performance.

According to Onwuegbuchu, the goal behind EXTRAVAGANZA was to have an event that would educate people about Africa, its culture, history and art while treating them to a night of entertainment.

“I hope they will like it, enjoy the culture, be a little more educated and want to come to our weekly, bi-weekly meetings, and just get a feeling for it and be more involved,” said Onwuegbuchu.

For many like Jamell Kennedy, an African-American undergraduate student at SMU, EXTRAVAGANZA is a great opportunity to “get a good sense of the African Culture that I am not used to.”

The night finished with a reception held at Hughes Trigg Commons. ASA invited everyone to experience the true flavors of African cuisine by providing various types of African dishes catered by restaurants including bex Ethiopian Restaurant, Fadi’s Moroccan Grill and African Village. Additionally, it provided time for the organization to reach out to people interested in getting involved.

“I think it’s really awesome that there is such a new organization, and they put on such a big event,” said Claudia Sandoval, an SMU undergraduate student that attended EXTRAVAGANZA.

SMU’s African Student Association’s first annual event ended with thunderous applause from the audience.

“I think today’s event, being our first ever event, was incredible; it was awesome. The crowd turnout was really great and the performers did great,” said Addo at the conclusion of the event.

The event appealed to all the senses with rhythmic music, coordinated dances and African cuisine. It taught those in attendance about the African culture, its history and its traditions. Above all, it made people proud of their roots and where they come from.